January 26, 2011
Traditionally, in Judaism, there’s a ceremony for baby boys, held on the 8th day after birth – a brit milah (a “bris”), or covenant of circumcision. It encompasses both a ritual circumcision, along with a formal baby naming/Judaic welcoming ceremony, and of course, a meal. The “public” circumcision (though you don’t actually see any of it) is one of the oldest Jewish rituals, and while a little strange, it is also one of the most meaningful ceremonies there is in a Jewish boy’s life.
Yesterday (January 25th), we held the brit milah at our home in order to rejoice in Asher, formally name him as Asher Jeremiah in English, and Asher Yirmeyahu in Hebrew, and welcome him into the Jewish community (as well as to introduce him to close friends and family as well as eat!). The size of our living room put a cap on the size, so we apologize post-fact that we were not able to invite everyone.
The ceremony was pretty special, as we performed the naming blessings while standing under our chuppah for the third time; once at our wedding, once at Aviva’s Simchat Bat, and now once for Asher’s bris. It was also extremely inspiring to have my dad and mom read letters to Asher telling him all about my Grandmother Edith (Yiddith), and my Uncles Jeffrey David and Keith Alan – Asher’s namesakes. Joelle’s mom provided Asher with his own kiddish cup to be used for years to come, and my mom even brought in my Kiddish Cup that was used at my bris; we had the gauze dipped in Manischewitz come out of that one for Asher. Thanks to my dad and Joelle’s dad for performing the Sandekim roles (holding Asher during the circumcision), as well as Joelle’s mom for doing Kvatter’in (bringing in Asher into the room), Joelle’s step-mom for lighting the bris candles, and my mom for holding Asher over Elijah’s chair.
We recorded the program in video form by recording the live stream (so it’s unfortunately not in HD – i forgot to hand someone the Flip to use), and it’s up at http://www.averbuch.net/ashers-brit-milah-video/ (along with the program – thanks Rabbi Rachel for putting this together and leading everything together with Dr. Witz, the mohel). However, as it’s very personal and emotional, I am not posting it quite publically – it’s a password-protected page. Just shoot me or Joelle an email/facebook message/phonecall/etc (keeping in mind that we’re pretty busy taking care of Asher and Aviva, so responses might be slow) and we can get you the password if you’d like to view the video.
January 26, 2011
Our amazing baby boy, Asher Jeremiah (or Asher Yermiyahu in Hebrew) was born on Monday, January 17th at 9:48 pm. As with his sister, he’s pretty high-tech, so upon getting some small amount of sleep, he went online, created a gmail account, and sent an email out announcing his arrival:
“Hi everyone! I’m awake for a few, so wanted to introduce myself! I’m super-excited to meet my sister later this morning – I really hope our first meeting goes well
At 9:48 pm last night (Monday January 17th), I finished quite a quick trip out of mom. She was great throughout the entire thing!
At delivery, I weighed 8 lbs even, and was 19 3/4 inches long.
As far as my name goes:
Asher is Hebrew, meaning Blessed, or Happy. Asher was also one of Jacob’s sons in the Torah.
Jeremiah (Yirmeyahu in Hebrew) was one of the Hebrew prophets.
I am named after my Great-Grandmother Edith (Yiddith in Hebrew), as well as my Great-Uncle Keith Alan and Great-Uncle Jeff.
(PS Pictures coming soon; daddy brought the wrong USB cable to the hospital)”
He then followed it up with a second email, this time containing pictures:
“We got the USB cable, so we were able to get pictures up online.
They can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=271060&id=694272115&l=d7987bf0cb
Note: You do not need a facebook account to view these; they are publicly available.
Since some of you can’t/won’t access Facebook, I’ve also attached three of my mom’s favorites to this email as well.
For pictures, you can see:
(Note: neither require having a facebook account; you can just click the links to view)
Those initial 3 pictures from the email can also be seen here:
June 1, 2010
The oldest tree at our house isn’t doing so well – it’s been pruned strangely, and is starting to need replacement.
I was told by neighbors that the city has been coming every 4 years or so to prune it back, since it is near a power line – which is strange, since the pruning involved topping the tree, which I know is not recommended at all. I was looking up details, and here’s the story:
Trees under powerlines
Q:Years ago someone planted 2 cedar trees on the strip between the sidewalk and curb in front of my house. These trees are huge and are under power lines. The city at some point topped the trees and continues to cut and butcher them every year. It is a shame but I think these trees are better to be cut down. Is the city able to help me take care of this?
A: Our City Light experts had this to say:
It sounds like the trees are too big for their location and have to be trimmed to maintain a safe clearance around the power lines. Seattle City Light maintains a 10 foot clearance around the high voltage electrical lines by having electrically qualified tree trimmers safely prune the trees (http://www.seattle.gov/light/neighborhoods/nh4_trtr.htm ).
Long term, it makes more sense to replace trees like this with smaller trees that don’t require such extensive pruning to protect electrical safety and reliability. Seattle City Light will replace trees when we are working in a neighborhood so you may have to wait until we come back. When work is upcoming, we leave door hangars for residents whose trees are going to be pruned. Use the contact numbers on the door hangers to discuss opportunities for potential removal and replacement of your trees through the Urban Tree Replacement program (http://www.seattle.gov/light/neighborhoods/treetrim/tt3_replace.htm ).
Planting the right tree in the right place is key to keeping Seattle green.
March 24, 2010
King County (Seattle’s county) is definitely lagging (hugely) behind the other counties that I have lived in – Oakland County (Oak Park/Southfield/West Bloomfield) and St. Louis County (WashU). Wonder why? Size is one issue (King County is huge), but the participation spread seems to be large enough to have another cause. Mail delivery speed is actually a likely cause as well, of course.
On a related note, Detroit proper is having major problems with the census; it’s not in any of the counties I am comparing below, but I really hope they find a way to get Detroit properly counted so it gets the federal funds it so desperately needs – for a good article, see http://www.freep.com/article/20100324/NEWS05/3240326/1322/Few-in-Hamtramck-Detroit-mail-census-forms. This article got me interested in checking out the participation in general.
February 20, 2010
We’ve been trying to get Aviva to have a variety of spices and ethnicities in her diet, as she continues to explore the world of solid foods. Last week, we took her for Ethiopian (Queen Sheba), which she really enjoyed – especially eating the spongy injera bread, but also the veggies – they are pureed similar to baby food after all, so it works well.
Looking for another good food for “eat with hands” and pureed consistency, we ventured over to Cedar’s on Brooklyn today for some Indian food. She loved this one – sharing our full meal, she went to town on the Naan, Channa Massala with Paneer (chickpea simmered in spices with paneer), and Dal Maharani (lentil in spices). Pictures, as always, tell the full story – including watching Aviva get messier and messier as she eats; not an uncommon occurrence, of course.
BTW, for a great read about feeding babys/toddlers the various culinary delights of Seattle, I highly recommend reading Hungry Monkey by Matthew Amster-Burton. Joelle and I loved this book, and it’s given me lots of great ideas.
February 14, 2010
Happy Valentines Day from Aviva (and all of us)!
(PS Sorry I haven’t blogged much; Facebook has been getting nearly all of our picture and video uploads, since frankly, it’s so easy. I have a goal to start doing longer blog writing more again; expect that to start “any day now!”)
November 22, 2009
A couple of friends stayed over the house this weekend, and we decided to pull out a bouncing ball and see how their son and Aviva enjoyed the ball. They both loved “kicking” the ball, as you can see in this video we captured of Aviva and me playing “foosball”.
(as always, you might need to visit the actual post to see the video – it is also online on Facebook if you’re on there)
November 14, 2009
While we were in Michigan a few weeks ago, an old family friend stopped over at my parent’s house and entertained us all by putting on a performance of her puppet show, starring Coco the monkey. It was actually a very special moment for me to experience with Aviva and Joelle, as I have such fond memories of seeing the same show when I was younger. Aviva was enthralled with it all, but was especially amazed (and laughing) when Maureen/Coco pulled out her/his kazoo, and started (through ventriloquism) playing the kazoo; Aviva giggled more than any of us had seen before, and was rapt with attention whenever she guessed the kazoo was coming back out.
Upon arriving back in Seattle, I had finally got around to buying a kazoo for myself to entertain Aviva last weekend. As I dropped it on the floor by mistake last evening, Aviva “scooted” towards it, and picked it up – turns out, she’s quite a natural kazoo player – who knew?
Here she is learning the kazoo:
And here she is putting on quite a performance: (and yes, she’s starting to sit a little – can’t really hold it too well yet, so I am holding on to her feet in this video)
(as always, you might need to view the actual post to see the video.)
November 1, 2009
Aviva’s really started to move around over the last couple of days. While I wouldn’t call it crawling yet, she sure manages to creep from place to place!
She also has a few favorite things to try and grab – Molly, of course, but also either of our cell phones, along with her set of fake keys.
I had accidently left my phone on the floor, and Aviva decided it needed to be hers – video ensued!
(you might need to visit the actual post to view this video, as usual. If you are Facebook, it’s the same video I already posted there).
September 29, 2009
I decided to see what Aviva would do if I plopped her down in front of the computer, since she was eyeing me earlier while I was on it. Quite a typing prodigy, she is:
Not quite sure what that means, but I’ll take it
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